Tuesday, October 23, 2007

During my recent India trip, one of my comics friend has presented a set of Phantom comics published in Tamil. I thought I have seen all the Phantom comics that were published in Tamil, but the sighting of these issues made a big dent to that confidence. I have three books with me now and I have seen the fourth issue as well. Also from the ad in the third issue, I could figure out that the publishers have also relased some Tarzan comics as well, in Tamil. Take a look at the damaged back cover.

Just like many other Tamil/Comics/Indian publishers, no forward from the editor or dates in these issues. In the absence of the publishing dates, I have to rely upon something else to guess the dates. In the back cover of the first issue, someone has written the date(9/8/75). And the stories that appear in these issues were created and published between Jul 1972 and Aug 74, so these issues were definitely release after this dates. So I guess it is safe to assume that this is the actual release date(9/8/75). The book looks old enough to have come from this period. Take a look at the back cover with the date scribbled.

This series was published from Kottayam, Kerala. Take a look at the credits page.

First story in this series is titled "Raththa Pei". Here is the cover and the first page of this issued.

This story was originally published as "Vampires of Koqania". This Daily story(No:121 originally titled "The Things") was written by Lee Falk and art work by Sy Barry. Looks like the story was edited heavily to fit into this format. Take a look at the first page of this story and the original pages below which makes this first page. Almost five pages from the original story was compressed into one page.

And one sample page from the middle.

The second story was titled "Kappal Killadigal". This daily story (No:117, titled "The Tanker Jackers") was also created and drawn by the same team. And once again the first page of this issue and the original page.

This issue is reproduced at its best. Pages were used as it is. And last page from this issue and the equivalent from the original story.

The third story was titled "Uyir Vangum Silai". This daily story (No:124, titled "Llongo Luck" a.k.a. "The curse of the Sacred Image") was also created and drawn by the same team. And once again the first page of this issue and the original pages that make up this first page. Contents of almost nine pages were compressed into one page in this issue.

And last page from this issue.

I did see the fourth issue with my friend. However it was damaged so badly, I did not want to take it with me. I really do not know how many more issues were published by Vidyarthi Mithram. In any case, it does not deserve to be in circulation for long for the atrocious translation and editing. Refer back how the rank "Colonel" is pronounced in the first page of the first issue.

All the issues are of 24 pages long and A4 size, like Indrajals, except that these are in Black and White.

If the cover scans are looking good, it is thanks to the technology. I have done a bit of digital restoration. Particularly the third issue was damaged very badly. First issue cover is given as it is.

As usual post your comments below my signature using the "Comments" link or by mail to muthufan@yahoo.com.

Happy reading!!!



King Viswa said...

Viswa Nathan.D,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Dear MuthuFan,
Very good Posting. On the topic of possesion of so much of comics, am planning to Loot you in the near future.

Jokes apart, i would like to wish you all the best & kindly keep up the good work.

Thanks & Regards,
Viswa Nathan.D

BN_USA said...

Vidyarthi Mithram was a great comic publisher. Their Tarzan comics used to be very popular in the early 80's. I had a nice collection of their Tarzan issues. I never knew they had Tamil issues, that too Phantom comics.

Any news on the comics classics from Lion?

Rafiq Raja said...

Hi Muthufan....

Viswa pipped me this time from commenting first on the post... All credits to him.

Thanks for an another wonderful article... I never heard about Vidyarthi Mithram, and neither seen any of the issues in the old book shops in my hunt. Clearly, something which has been published in 75... (way before I was born) truly deserves it's piece of tamil comics history....

The way Colonel is pronounced, I wonder whether really understood the meaning before the translation....

The cover scans are too good... and the bonus original scans too :)

With Luv,
Rafiq Raja

King Viswa said...

Viswa Nathan.D,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Dear Rafiq,

I Have seen these comics in my friend Kalil's Home in Pondy. They have published Tarzan & Phantom Comics. They looked like the B/W version of Indrajaal Comics & Of lesser Quality.

Thanks & Regards,
Viswa Nathan.D

BN_USA said...

Vidyarthi Mithram were Malayali publishers, and so it is not surprising that they pronounce colonel as "Kaynal". Tamil publishers pronounce as "Karnal".

BTW, check out the new XIII movie with Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff:



Anonymous said...

Tamil nadu, India

Hi All,

Just Now bought The Lucky Luke Series from TARA Press,New Delhi, India.

Tara Press is a Trade Imprint of India Research Press (www.indiaresearchpress.com) and they do have the Exclusive English language publishing rights for Lucky Luke for the indian subcontinent.

Currently they do have 7 Titles of Lucky Luke in English:

(1) Western Circus (Super Circus in Tamil-Mini Lion Comics)
(2) Jesse James (Jesse James in Tamil-Lion Comics)
(3) Calamity Jane (Adhiradi Jane in Tamil-Lion Comics)
(4) Dalton City (Dalton Nagaram in Tamil-Lion Comics)
(5) Ma Dalton (Taai illamal Naan illai in Tamil-Lion Comics)
(6) The Dashing White Cow Boy (Medai'il Oru Manmadhan in Tamil-Lion Comics)
(7) The TenderFoot - Yet to be published in Tamil.

Out of these, 5 titles are available in all the LandMark shops in the same section as that of Asterix and TinTin (Dalton City & Calamity Jane are not available in all the LandMark).

All these titles are priced at Rs 195.00 & available in the same size as that of Asterix. The Paper Quality is Good (170 GSM). However, the printing quality is not up to the mark.

it seems they have used the same scanned covers of the old issues (Example-First page of Western Circus). The Colours are dull & the lettering is also not upto the mark.
The less said about the Translation the better. However, they have made an attempt to get world qulaity comics in india and this has to be appreicated.

By the way, the word is that they are on the verge of publishing Iznogud (Madhi illa mandhiri) in English as well. Talks are also on to get XIII in India very soon.

Post Script 1:Part 19 of the XIII Saga is out in french with Jean Van Hamme contribution. Have a look.

Post Script 2: There is a New Comic series by the name of Srirou & this is available in Euro Kids series with 11 titles and priced at Rs 195.00. Am just waiting for the inputs from Comic Jaambavans like Muthufan, Viswa, Rafiq, ERB, BN, Dr Sathish to write about these books before buying them.

Thanks & Regards,

Happy Reading Guys.
Chezhiyan Kumaraswami

Rafiq Raja said...

Chezhian, thanks for the update. I have heard about Tara Press new publishes of Lucky Luke, and witnessed them in Landmark, would be getting my hands on it this week, and would reserve an article about it later. I agree the Printing wasn't of great quality, but hopefully at Rs.195/- its worth the price, seeing the way the Originals are converted in INR.

Regarding Euro Books, I also saw the Spirtius in Landmark, at the outset it looks pretty cool, and I am planning to buy 2 of them to sample it out, and will blog about it sooner. The cover says, Spirtius is best known Belgian comics next to Tin-Tin. Let's see how good that is.

P.S.: Posting my response here too, as its widely known that Muthufan blog gets more hit than my humble one :)

Rafiq Raja

bn_usa said...

Thank you for the update Chezhiyan. I plan to visit India in a few months this year and I will try to sample these comics.

Rafiq Raja said...


Where are you ??? we are eagerly waiting for your next post... It's long overdue :)

Rafiq Raja

siva said...

Muthufan sir, pls leave your next post. we are waiting

Rafiq Raja said...

Dear Friends, Muthu #308 has been released. I received my subscription copy on April 04.

Happy Reading. You can have a preview at my blog.

Rafiq Raja